Why Linktree is bad for SEO (and an alternative for your small business website)

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Aime Cox
Founder of Studio Cotton
Aime is utterly obsessed with sharing heaps of small business and website advice that’s easy to action
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This article and all others on the Studio Cotton blog are written by humans. Please enjoy our opinions, expertise, advice, experiences, and typos.

I’m guessing that if you’re reading this, you’re either a lovely small business owner or a lovely person who works for a lovely small business.

If your small business has a website (which is pretty likely in this day and age) using Linktree could actually be harming your small business. Is that really worth paying up to $6 a month for this burden?

PS. Check out my more recent post, 3 basic reasons why Linktree is still bad for SEO for a small update.


What exactly is Linktree?

Instagram can so often be a pain in the bottom for brands. One of those ways is that it only allows you to add a single link to your account.

Linktree is link a little linking middle man, so you replace the link in your bio to a link to a Linktree page, which is essentially a list of links. You can edit it into your brand colours and all sorts.

Links links links.

(Edit: As of April 2023, you can now add up to 5 links to your Instagram profile – hooray!)


Linktree is bad for your small business website’s SEO

SEO stands for search engine optimisation, and is super important for making your website more findable to potential customers and clients. If you’re new to this term, have a read through our blogs all about SEO.

Well, all that sexy traffic from your Instagram bio is now going to a domain owned by Linktree, and not to your website. If that traffic were going to your website, it would help your website to rank better with search engines like Google – but nope, you’re giving it to Linktree instead.

It also adds an extra step onto some key user journeys, like a mailing list sign up. Humans hate a long journey – it’s a fact. If you’re running a campaign that requires data sharing, you want to make the process as easy as possible, and an extra click is friction you don’t want and don’t need.


Some clever alternatives to using Linktree

Well, like in the example above – if you have one main promotion like a competition or sale – link straight to it and cut out all of your friction.

If you want to share a variety of pages, you can create your own Linktree alternative. Use your website page builder to pop together a super simple list of links in your brand colours and style.

I boffed together a faux-Linktree for Studio Cotton in about 30 mins, but half of that was faffing with the shades of pink (story of my life).



But what about all the other great Linktree features?

Ok, Linktree does boast a lot of benefits on their website, but on closer inspection – they’re really not all that. Let’s review them one-by-one.


Free Linktree benefits

  • Unlimited links – you can do this on your own website
  • View click volumes – you can see this via Google Analytics
  • Pick from a selection of Linktree themes – again, solved by the build-your-own solution


Paid-only Linktree benefits

  • See a day-by-day breakdown of link traffic – again, very easy to see in Google Analytics
  • Give access to your team to manage links – for small brands, it’s probably the same person managing the website and managing Linktree, so if anything, the website solution cuts down the number of usernames and passwords, thus increasing security biyatch
  • Complete customisation of your Linktree colours and button styles – solved in the website solution
  • Change the title of your Linktree – I can’t believe this is even a selling point
  • Time your links to go live with scheduled posts – a lot of website builders can do this too, but I guess maybe, maybe this is a benefit if you really don’t have the time and absolutely need to do both of these tasks at the same time
  • Retarget your Linktree visitors with Facebook Pixel – You should be doing this on your site already, you do not need Linktree to do this


Even more benefits of the build-your-own website page solution

  • Keep all your analytics in the same place, giving you fewer places to check and meaning you’re more likely to pick up any important info
  • Easily segment all Instagram traffic however you like, and track their entire journey through your website (requires a little more in-depth Google Analytics knowledge)
  • Link to external websites, but will do so via your domain, creating a virtual link between you and your new web buddy – these are called backlinks and are great for SEO


Linktree is for some people

If you don’t have your own website, then Linktree is probably the solution you need.

If you absolutely do not have the ability to create a list of links of your web page that doesn’t look hideously ugly, then sure – use Linktree. But if you’ve paid someone to create and maintain that website, maybe have a word and find out why that isn’t possible.

To everyone else, build your own Linktree-esque page on your site, and start reaping the search engine benefits.

PS. Here’s a very excellent article from Ashlyn Carter on HoneyBook on how to use Linktree better – every principle can be applied to a website list too!

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